Strikers down Scorchers to claim consecutive wins
Veteran spinner Fawad Ahmed and English recruit Ian Cockbain were the stars for the Strikers, as they moved into the top five with a win over the Perth Scorchers
14 January 2022, 10:21 AM AEST
Adelaide Strikers have claimed the Jason Gillespie Trophy in the final match of the inaugural KFC BBL First Nations Round, taking down ladder-leaders Perth Scorchers in a comfortable six-wicket victory.
Aiming to cement their spot at the top of the ladder, the Scorchers were uncharacteristically sluggish in the Friday morning match, posting a below-par 9-127.
The Strikers looked shaky at times throughout their chase, but sealed the victory with three overs to spare as new international recruit Ian Cockbain (35 off 24) steered them home.
Cockbain was only signed by the Strikers on Thursday, with the Englishman earning the unexpected chance by virtue of already being in Australia playing for Langwarrin in Victorian grade cricket.
He looked right at home in his new colours, striking five boundaries to lead his side to victory on debut.
The Strikers had won the bat flip and opted to bowl first at the Adelaide Oval, restricting the Scorchers to just 19 off the first four overs and picking up the wicket of Nick Hobson (3).
Matt Short (1-15) tightened the screws even further, with the part time off-spinner playing an important role for an Adelaide side with just four recognised bowlers.
Kurtis Patterson finally struck the first six of the match off Fawad Ahmed in the sixth over but fell the next ball for 25, handing the veteran leg-spinner his first wicket.
That brought Laurie Evans and Perth captain Ashton Turner together, fresh off a 69-run partnership in their most recent fixture, and there were shades of that partnership against the Stars as the two targeted the short square boundaries of Adelaide Oval.
A scare went through the Adelaide camp when young gun Thomas Kelly rolled his ankle attempting to save one of Evans' sixes that only just made it over the rope, stepping on the 'toblerone' just before take-off. He left the field in visible pain but soon returned.
The Scorchers appeared in control just before the halfway mark with Turner (28 from 15) and Evans well set, but that rapidly changed when Turner holed out to deep cover one ball before the break.
A well-directed bouncer from Peter Siddle in the over after drinks removed Aaron Hardie (0), and Kelly's run-out to dismiss Chris Sabburg left the Scorchers vulnerable at 5-90 in the 13th and missing the all-round capabilities of Ashton Agar, unavailable due to shoulder sourness.
Evans was unable to turn the Scorchers' innings around, caught behind of Ahmed for 39 off 31 deliveries; from there, the tailenders scratched their way to 127 off their 20 overs, their lowest total of BBL|11.
Fawad (3-30) relished the front-line spinner role in the absence of Rashid Khan, who has departed on national duties, while Siddle and Henry Thornton each picked up two wickets.
In reply, Short lived out every junior cricketer's dream when he opened the batting after also doing so with the ball, joined by Henry Hunt.
The two pounced on any loose deliveries as they reached 38 from the powerplay, but as has been the case for Short (34 off 28) throughout BBL|11, he couldn’t capitalise on a positive start, hitting a Peter Hatzoglou delivery to deep mid-wicket.
Cockbain started slowly in his first BBL innings, but back-to-back boundaries in the ninth over saw him and Hunt put the Strikers in a strong position at drinks on 1-78.
The break provided a change of fortune, and a change of wicketkeeper for the Scorchers – BBL pool player Brayden Stepien replacing Sabburg – as Hunt skied one off Hardie on the very first ball of the 11th over.
New batter Jono Wells (6 off 12) came and went to hand Hardie his second, before Jake Weatherald (8) quickly followed, leaving Adelaide 4-108 with five overs remaining.
But Cockbain and Kelly (14 not out) held their nerve to secure victory, as the Strikers picked up consecutive victories for the first time this season.
Hardie's 3-31 was the only real positive for the Scorchers in the second innings, with Hatzoglou the only other wicket-taker.
Adelaide moved into outright fifth position with two matches remaining, ahead of the sixth-placed Melbourne Stars who are two points behind them with a game in hand.
The Scorchers remained in top spot but could squander that position should they lose their final game to Brisbane Heat on Monday.